Technology Innovation Scholars Program
“Engineering is important to me. I want to make a real difference.”
At BU’s College of Engineering, undergraduate students can have an important and immediate impact by inspiring the next generation of young engineers. Through the Technology Innovation Scholars Program (TISP), they can get training and pay to work directly with middle school and high school students, opening their eyes to the role of engineers in society. Undergrads can also pursue a dual degree in engineering and teaching through the STEM Educator-Engineer Program.
We face a critical shortage of engineers, largely because many young people who might choose a career in technology innovation don’t know what engineers do or how they improve our quality of life.
Enter the Technology Innovation Scholars Program (TISP). TISP recruits and trains some of Boston University’s most talented engineering majors and sends them to middle and high schools around the country to explain how engineering can transform our lives. TISP Inspiration Ambassadors give interactive, fun presentations that frame engineering as essential to our quality of life—from the cleanliness of the water we drink to the distribution of the energy we use to power our homes. K–12 students explore the design process and see themselves as problem solvers, engineers, and future leaders of technological innovation.
TISP has made significant strides since its founding in January 2011, and is growing all the time. Trained Inspiration Ambassadors have:
- Increased in number by 150% to more than 60 undergraduate engineering students involved.
- Reached 24,000 K-12 students in 27 states and 9 countries.
- Mentored 35 high school FIRST® Robotics teams.
- Engaged K–12 students who are twice as diverse as current engineering colleges: approximately 25% underrepresented minorities and 50% female.
- Developed a transportable, scalable model than can be shared with other colleges for increased national impact.
Assistant Dean Freeman recently received a National Science Foundation Early Concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) to explore national-scale evaluation of undergraduate outreach programs, like TISP. The title of the grant is: Co-Creating a Research Agenda to Evaluate University Ambassador Programs’ Impact on Engineering Identity of K-12 Students. We hope to be able to create effective tools and techniques to measure the impact of K-12 outreach not only on the undergraduate students, but the school-aged students we serve.
“While recruiting at Boston University, we have found that students that have participated in the Inspiration Ambassador program are exceptional – they are academically successful, highly motivated to explore technology based careers, and ingrained into their community.”
Our current partners include:
- Kern Family Foundation
- Accenture, a COorporate Outreach Leader for TISP
- Argosy Foundation, a COorporate Outreach Leader for TISP
- AT&T, a COorporate Outreach Leader for TISP
- Communication Technology Services
- FIRST® Robotics
- Boston Public Schools STEM
- W. Bradford Ingalls Charitable Foundation
- NASA, a COorporate Outreach Leader for TISP
- Newton (Mass.) Public Schools
- Boston Regional STEM Network
- Boston Private Industry Council
- National Science Foundation Smart Lighting Center
- BU School of Education
- Josiah Quincy Upper School, Boston
- Brighton High School, Brighton
- Jackson/Mann K–8 School, Allston